Howard CTA station. Photo: Gerald Farinas.
Heading northbound on the Purple Line Express into Evanston.
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Howard CTA station. Photo: Gerald Farinas.

Heading northbound on the Purple Line Express into Evanston.

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West Sheridan at Winthrop Ave. Photo: Gerald Farinas.
On the 147 Outer Drive Express to the train station.
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West Sheridan at Winthrop Ave. Photo: Gerald Farinas.

On the 147 Outer Drive Express to the train station.

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CTA avoids doomsday cuts and fare hikes says Greg Hinz

Greg Hinz, political columnist for Crain’s Chicago Business reports on the latest developments on the fiscal state of the Chicago Transit Authority. He goes all the way to the top, the office of CTA President Forrest Claypool, for answers.

Hinz reminds us that good news isn’t always good news. There are sacrifices elsewhere so that customers don’t pay higher prices at the turnstiles.

No major cuts in service or fare hikes for CTA users. Photo by Gerald Farinas.

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Next Stop: Oakton; Doors open on the left at Oakton

Skokie will finally open its second transportation hub as a newly built station, at Oakton Street and Skokie Boulevard, opens on Monday, April 30 with the first train pulling in at 4:45 a.m., according to the Chicago Transit Authority website.

For a generation, the main transit line through the village, to and from Howard Street in Rogers ParkChicago, was the route 97 CTA bus, various PACE buses, and a Swift rail line that could only be tapped at Dempster Street. That station was opened on April 16, 1964.

The Oakton Yellow Line station, already being called the Downtown Swift station by locals, cost in excess of $20 million. $14 million came from Federal funding secured by Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky. $6 million came from Skokie’s TIF coffers.

Village of Skokie rendering of the Oakton Yellow Line station.

Businesses in the Downtown Skokie area are excited for the opportunity to increase visitors and sales, even expecting to see new Chicago customers who’ve never been to this part of Skokie before. Already a popular item on Facebook is the opportunity to shop at places like Marketplace for fresh produce.

The Yellow Line will see more expansion as Evanston seeks funding for an Asbury station. Long-range plans to continue the Swift to Old Orchard is still being discussed.

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Alderman Moore’s request to delay Morse closure fails; Glenwood Sunday Market affected

Fans of the Glenwood Sunday Market in Rogers Park will be disappointed to hear that 49th Ward Alderman Joe Moore was unsuccessful in getting the Chicago Transit Authority to switch the dates of closure for the Morse and Jarvis Red Line stations, to accomodate the popular farmers’ market, according to the CTA Tattler.

Morse will be shuttered starting Friday, June 29 for six weeks, as originally scheduled, during a busy season for the Glenwood Sunday Market, located along the tracks. Jarvis is set to close on Friday, November 9.

Alderman Joe Moore fails to delay Morse Red Line station closure for the Glenwood Sunday Market. Photo by Gerald Farinas.

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Granville station closure delayed until June 1 for construction materials

Chicago Transit Authority said it will delay the closure of Edgewater’s Granville Red Line station as it needs more time to procure materials needed for construction, according to a call to the CTA after a report by the CTA Tattler.

The new date of closure is now slated to be Friday, June 1. The station is expected to be reopened six weeks later, Friday, July 13.

Earlier this month, businesses along the Granville and Broadway corridors were given notices to post on their storefronts regarding the temporary closure of the neighborhood ‘L’ station for life-extending facelifts. It was originally scheduled to be closed on Friday, May 11.

Customers will be expected to use the Thorndale and Loyola Red Line stations, or use Sheridan Road and Broadway corridor buses.

image

Granville and six other north side CTA Red Line stations will receive interim improvements until a more permanent Red and Purple Modernization project begins. Photo by Gerald Farinas.

Much of the project includes major waterproofing, painting and track work. With the implementation of the Red and Purple Modernization Project, still in the planning stages, the Granville station will be completely demolished and rebuilt.

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Granville station will close first for rehab; Morse, Jarvis to follow

Granville CTA station in Edgewater will close for six weeks beginning Friday, May 11 for major maintenance to lengthen its lifespan. A more permanent reconstruction is planned in the future under the RPM Project.

Granville and six other north side CTA Red Line stations will receive interim improvements until a more permanent Red and Purple Modernization project begins. Photo by Gerald Farinas.

Residents must walk to Thorndale or Loyola CTA stations, or use buses, during the closure.

Two Rogers Park stations will close for six weeks each. Morse will be shut down Friday, June 29. Jarvis will be shuttered Friday, November 9

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Does Loyola pay to have its name on a CTA station?

It’s a common question I hear on train rides, passing the Loyola CTA Red Line station. Sometimes it’s asked by Loyola students new to Chicago. Other times, it’s asked with an air of bitter contempt, by people who detest the recent land purchases and construction projects that Loyola University Chicago has slated for Rogers Park and Edgewater Beach—and yes, there’s more land grabs and development planned in the coming years.

You’ve probably asked the question, too. “Does Loyola pay to have its name on a CTA station?” The answer is, “No.” That’s because the station is not named for the university.

Like most CTA stations in Chicago, ‘L’ stops are named after the streets they straddle. In this case, Loyola ‘L’ station is named after Loyola Avenue.

Loyola ‘L’ station from October 20, 1925. From a historic collection of JJ Sedelmeier.

In the late 1800s, Loyola Avenue was called Hayes Avenue. The street’s name was changed in 1910 to honor the founder of the Society of Jesus, the Basque solider Ignatius of Loyola, whose religious brothers and priests lived in the area. A largely Catholic community, neighbors joined the brothers and priests in worship at St. Ignatius Church, founded in 1906.

Established in 1870 as St. Ignatius College, Loyola University Chicago started moving to Rogers Park in 1912, from its original home near the University of Illinois-Chicago.

The original Hayes Avenue station, at the same site, was a street-level platform and wooden house. As shown in this 1910 photo, the station served three-car trains of the Northwestern Line. Without a third rail, trains were powered with trolley wires above. From a historic collection of JJ Sedelmeier.

Fast forward to May 2012, the CTA will begin rehabilitation of the station’s platform and house interior. Loyola University Chicago is donating land and money to construct an open public plaza entrance. The Red and Purple Modernization project, a more permanent reconstruction of Chicago’s ‘L’ railway and stations, includes other improvements to make Loyola a Loop Express transfer station.

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Alderman Moore endorses zoning, license for new Loyola-owned apartments on Albion

It’s often joked about that the official bird of the City of Chicago is the crane. Look up and you’ll see more and more in the skies over the Far North Side. Construction cranes are being erected in various spots of Rogers Park and Edgewater as Loyola University Chicago continues new phases for its master-planned community—which now seems to have been removed from the LUC.edu website.

Illustration of new building to be constructed by Loyola University Chicago at 1217-39 W. Albion in Rogers Park.

A new development next to the Loyola CTA Red Line Station—where Loyola is constructing a new public plaza—will feature a 29-unit residential apartment building. It will sit adjacent to a new surface parking lot with 59 parking spaces, 29 of which will belong to property renters. Because the lot will have parking spaces for the public, Loyola came before the city for a necessary zoning change. They will require a special use permit to operate such a parking lot.

After a public meeting hosted by Alderman Joe Moore, the 49th Ward Boss has decided to support the zoning change and special use permit.

Google Map location, pinpointed at marker A, of Loyola University Chicago’s new residential apartment building at 1217-39 W. Albion.

Moore said that many he encountered support the project, “Most stated the belief that the proposed development would be an improvement over the current underutilized parking lot.”

The apartment building will not serve as dormitory housing but will be a residential apartment building, like many other buildings in the neighborhood. The only difference is that it would be owned and operated by the Jesuit university.

Moore explained, “Some community residents expressed concern that the development would become a de facto student dormitory, but Loyola assured the residents that it would own and manage the apartments and would limit the number of occupants in each rental unit.”

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Loyola CTA Red Line Station Reboot starts in May; McDonald’s will close end of month

Loyola University Chicago officials have announced that a planned $10 million reboot for the Loyola CTA Red Line Station at Sheridan Road will begin late May. The stations serves residents and students living in Rogers Park and Edgewater neighborhoods.

The Loyola project is separate from a planned Red and Purple Modernization project, or RPM, currently in the planning stages. RPM could transform the station into a multi-platform Purple Line Express transfer station.

The Loyola CTA plaza project now starting is part of a larger master-planned community development that saw the construction of The Morgan at Loyola Station, The Flats at Loyola Station, and the parking garage anchored by a CVS drugstore. The newest phases of this construction include new residential, retail and parking structures to be built over demolished properties.

The Loyola CTA plaza project will take 10 to 12 months to complete and will begin after the Lake Shore Campus’ summer commencement ceremonies. The station will remain open during construction but customers may be redirected to different entrances as needed.

The building that houses McDonald’s Express and BMO Harris Bank will be demolished to create an open plaza. Karavites Management has told the university that it does not intend to return after redevelopment has completed. Karavites expects to close before the new fiscal year, possibly the end of this month.

Karavites also owns a full-service McDonald’s down the street on Broadway near Granville Avenue. Bank of Montreal, owner of Harris, will move the branch to Granada Centre, property owned by the university. Dunkin’ Donuts and the news stand will remain.

While Loyola constructs the plaza, a separate CTA-managed project will be started at the same time. The station will be waterproofed, stairs and turnstiles will be updated, and improve the viaduct that arches over Sheridan Road.

Interim face lifts approved for North Side Red Line stations

While the Chicago Transit Authority still works on finalizing plans for the Red and Purple Modernization project, work will go ahead for interim improvements to Lawrence, Argyle, Bryn Mawr, Thorndale, Granville, Morse and Jarvis stations.

The CTA approved a contract today for a temporary improvement project that will cost $57.4 million. Work has been contracted to Kiewit Infrastructure Co., which recently landed contracts to help build a new elevated train system in Honolulu, Hawaii.

The Chicago Tribune reported, “The federally funded face lift that CTA Chief Infrastructure Officer Chris Bushell outlined on Wednesday will include water-proofing; tuckpointing; installing new windows, doors, ceilings and floors on the seven station houses; improving lighting; repairing or replacing platforms; and shoring up crumbling viaducts and embankments.” Adding elevators are not part of the project.

With the approval of a more permanent Red and Purple Modernization project, eventually these stations will be demolished and rebuilt from the ground up, except for Red Line stations that may be permanently closed: Jarvis, Thorndale, Lawrence.

A public meeting regarding this interim project is planned for March of this year. Read the original story.

Earlier this week, the CTA hosted public meetings regarding the Red and Purple Modernization project in which two main proposals emerged.

Granville and six other north side CTA Red Line stations will receive interim improvements until a more permanent Red and Purple Modernization project begins. Photo by Gerald Farinas.

Two main proposals for ‘L’ modernization; closing North Side stations still considered

Six proposed alternatives for the Red and Purple Modernization project ultimately became four proposals after the latest round of public meetings. Chicago Transit Authority met with hundreds of residents in two public open houses on Monday, February 6 in Evanston, and Tuesday, February 7 at the Broadway Armory in Edgewater.

REFRESHED PROPOSALS

Two of the four proposals now on the table have no or minimal changes to the Red and Purple Lines. The first proposes no action whatsoever to Chicago’s rapid transit system. The second proposal is for only basic rehabilitation of current stations and turning Loyola station into a Red and Purple transfer station. Participants of the meetings, for the most part, viewed the two as not enough, considering stations are showing their advanced age.

Participants showed most interest in two main proposals, refreshed and on the table for serious consideration. One plan is called Modernization and the other is called Modernization without Consolidation.

The CTA defined modernization for participants as being, “comprehensive reconstruction of track, stations, and structures along the line, which would include considerable speed improvement.”

MODERNIZATION

Presenters described the renamed Modernization plan as, “Providing modern amenities at stations, modest increase in speed of service, includes new transfer station at Loyola, and major reconstruction and renovation to extend the useful life to 60-80 years.”

This plan includes the elimination of several CTA stations: Lawrence in Uptown, Thorndale in Edgewater, Jarvis in Rogers Park, South near St. Francis Hospital in Evanston, and Foster near the Northwestern University campus.

After refreshing the alternative proposals for the Red and Purple Modernization project, stations like Jarvis in Rogers Park may be closed permanently in one of two major choices. Photo by Wikipedia user JeremyA.

The CTA have taken into account the passionate views regarding station elimination and therefore are instead using the term “consolidation.” One of the presenters defined consolidation as “the reduction of the number of train stops coupled with the creation of new, secondary entrances at adjacent stations.”

Proponents of consolidation argue its ability to greatly improve efficiency and travel times.

Consolidation creates new entrances at nearby stations and the CTA explained that they may reposition or lengthen train platforms to create new access points at different street intersections. One of the CTA presenters said, “Adding secondary entrances to stations would shorten the walk time for many patrons, however, some patrons may have to adjust their commute.”

Secondary entrances are planned for the following Red Line stations under the consolidation plan: Howard (entry at Paulina and Rogers), Loyola (entry at Albion), Granville (entry at Glenlake), Bryn Mawr (entry at Hollywood), Berwyn (entry at Foster), Argyle (entry at Ainslie), Wilson (entry at Sunnyside), Addison (entry at Waveland). A new Irving Park station would adjoin or replace the present-day Sheridan stop.

Secondary entrances will be added to the following Purple Line stations: Noyes (entry at Gaffield), Davis (entry at Church), Dempster (entry at Greenwood), and Main (entry at Madison).

Edgewater’s Thorndale station may be closed permanently in one of two major Red and Purple Modernization project choices. Photo by Gerald Farinas.

Presenters stressed that no official decision has been made regarding consolidation and that in the planning process, they are still keeping an open mind to the other alternative, without consolidation.

MODERNIZATION WITHOUT CONSOLIDATION

The new Modernization without Consolidation proposal was not one of the original six alternative plans from last year. It was created as a response to public reaction from last year’s unveiling of proposals, which CBS 2 credited our own Rogers Park Facebook page for breaking news regarding station elimination being part of several plans.

Modernization without Consolidation goes ahead with major upgrades to all the stations without eliminating Lawrence, Thorndale, Jarvis, South and Foster. It too will last 60-80 years.

MUTUAL IMPROVEMENTS

Both the Modernization and Modernization without Consolidation plans include the expansion of current 6-car Purple Line trains to 8 cars, and have additional Express train access points at Wilson and Loyola. Present-day 8-car Red Line trains would expand to 10 cars.

Both plans would significantly straighten out 16 of 20 known curves, improving travel times.

Both plans include the possibility of constructing a flyover near the Belmont station that would allow Brown Line trains to enter and exit the station without having to cross over, and stop, Red and Purple Line traffic. It would reduce travel time for all three affected lines.

WHY IS THE RED AND PURPLE MODERNIZATION PROJECT NEEDED?

Presenters started the meetings with a basic outline of why the Red and Purple Modernization project is needed. They argued that the infrastructure is significantly past its useful life and that degradation has caused increased maintenance costs and has compromised service. Everyone agreed that the community relies on the ‘L’ and that stations need to have ADA accessibility. The CTA continued, “Old transit line infrastructure causes delays and unreliable travel times. We cannot accommodate all passengers on existing roads and buses.” They added, “The population of the area we’re talking about is growing and are highly reliant on public transportation.”

WHAT’S NEXT IN THE PLANNING PROCESS?

Now that the Red and Purple Modernization project has whittled down its choices, another round of public meetings to refine proposals will be announced for summer of this year. The meetings will feature cost and proposal updates, illustrated renderings of the proposed plans, and a summation of potential negative and positive effects of each plan. A Tier 1 Draft Environmental Impact Statement, also called an EIS, will be issued in 2013 and will be subject to public hearing. Later that year, a final EIS will be presented.

RESOURCES

Residents and business owners are invited to read the Red and Purple Modernization Project Handouts (PDF given out at the public meetings) and the Red and Purple Modernization Exhibit Boards (PDF of the presentation shown to participants).

INTERIM PROJECTS UNDERWAY

While the CTA still works on finalizing plans for the Red and Purple Modernization project, work will go ahead for interim improvements to Lawrence, Argyle, Bryn Mawr, Thorndale, Granville, Morse and Jarvis stations. A public meeting regarding the interim project is planned for March of this year. Read the original story.

Granville and six other north side CTA Red Line stations will receive interim improvements until a more permanent Red and Purple Modernization project begins. Photo by Gerald Farinas.

Wilson redevelopment is also forging ahead. It will become a transfer station for both Red and Purple Lines. A public meeting regarding Wilson is planned for early this summer.

Loyola station is being redeveloped in a separate project spearheaded by Loyola University Chicago. It will be donating property towards the creation of a plaza along N. Sheridan Road. Read the original story.

This is an illustration of an updated Loyola station, as part of a larger Loyola University Chicago master plan development, not taking into account the CTA’s proposals to turn Loyola into a Red and Purple Line transfer station.

Permanent CTA station closures still on table for North Side and Evanston

Last year, our very own Rogers Park Facebook page was credited by CBS 2 for breaking news before the Chicago Transit Authority officially unveiled six alternate proposals for the Red and Purple Modernization project, of which three include the permanent closure of several stations: Jarvis, Thorndale, Lawrence on the Red Line and Foster, South on the Purple Line.

There was a major public outcry. 49th Ward Alderman Joe Moore remembered reactions in his neighborhood, “Over 250 Rogers Park residents turned out in force to oppose the closing of the Jarvis station and hundreds of others flooded the CTA with letters and e-mails opposing the station closing.”

Despite efforts to calm customers that these were “just ideas,” the schemes are still officially on the table.

Jarvis CTA Red Line Station may be closed permanently in several alternate proposals for the Red and Purple Modernization project. Photo by Wikipedia user JeremyA.

The CTA told WBBM last year that it hopes to settle on a plan and seek construction money of up to $4.2 billion in the next federal surface transportation bill, which is expected later this year.

ALDERMAN MOORE WANTS PUBLIC TO COME OUT

The CTA is hosting two public meetings on Monday, February 6 at Evanston Public Library and Tuesday, February 7 at the Broadway Armory in Edgewater, both from 5 to 7:30 p.m.

At the meetings, (read the flyer invitation) the CTA will present updates to the Environmental Impact Statement process, provide additional information about RPM, and ask for more feedback from residents, workers and neighborhood businesses affected by the project.

Alderman Moore is calling all CTA users to come out to the meetings to reinforce opposition raised last year of station closures. The Rogers Park city council member told constituents, “The CTA was quick to emphasize the proposals were merely ideas and no official plans to close the station were in the works. Though this is still true, it’s important to note the CTA has not officially rejected the ideas that contemplate closing [stations]. I urge you to attend one of the update meetings to reaffirm our community’s strong opposition to any idea, plan or proposal that calls for the closing of [stations].”

Lawrence CTA Red Line Station may be closed permanently in several alternate proposals for the Red and Purple Modernization project. To make up for the loss of the station, proposals include the creation of new entrances at adjacent stations. Photo by Wikipedia user moonrat42.

Interim improvements coming to CTA Red Line stations

Kevin O’Neill, the CTA Tattler, mistakenly reported that a major CTA Red Line rehab project for seven Red Line stations was set to begin, after assuming that a published request for proposals was meant for the much anticipated Red and Purple Modernization Project (RPM).

The Chicago Transit Authority responded with a clarification that the request for proposals was for an unrelated, more immediate, life-extending, interim facelift project “aimed at improving service and enhancing rider experience until a long-term solution is determined.” The improvements will happen at stations in Rogers Park, Edgewater and Uptown.

Granville and six other north side CTA Red Line stations will receive interim improvements until a more permanent Red and Purple Modernization project begins. Photo by Gerald Farinas.

SCOPE OF THE IMPROVEMENT PROJECT

The interim improvement project, expected to be completed by 2013, will affect the following CTA Red Line stations:

Berwyn and Loyola stations were left out of the interim project. Loyola’s CTA Red Line Station is expected to receive major rehab part of a multi-phase Loyola University Chicago master-planned community currently under development.

O’Neill reported the general scope of the interim project, as found in the request for proposals:

  • Track level: Trackbed slab and parapet wall ballast retainer waterproofing over viaducts, station houses, and adjacent CTA rental properties
  • Platform deck structure and foundation replacement
  • Platform fixtures, furnishings and canopy improvements
  • Station exterior site improvements
  • Building envelope renovation
  • Interior configuration improvement and finish replacement
  • New utility services and rooms
  • Viaduct structural repairs (excludes Lawrence)
  • Cosmetic viaduct repairs and coating

CLOSURES ARE EXPECTED

Commuters will be affected as track and station closures are expected, though, exact dates have not yet been determined.

As outlined in the request for proposals, tracks 1 and 2 would be out of service two separate weekends from Granville to Wilson, 10 p.m. Friday to 4 a.m. Monday. Tracks 1 and 2 would be out of service two separate weekends from Jarvis to Granville from 10 p.m. Friday to 4 a.m. Monday. Track 2 would be out of service at various times in various areas on weekends and weeknights.

During the improvement project, each station may be closed for one period of up to 42 consecutive days in order to perform accelerated station rehab work. The request for proposals stipulate that no more that four stations may be closed at a time, and no two adjacent stations can be closed at the same time.

Improvements to Morse and six other CTA Red Line stations will be in line with some changes made at nearby Howard terminus. Photo by Gerald Farinas.

PUBLIC COMMENT ON THE RPM

While the interim improvement project gets underway, the RPM is still in need of more public comment. Two public meetings have been planned at the Evanston Public Library, on Monday, February 6 from 5 to 7:30 p.m., and at the Broadway Armory in Edgewater on Tuesday, February 7 from 5 to 7:30 p.m.

At the meetings, (read the flyer invitation) the CTA will present updates to the Environmental Impact Statement process, provide additional information about RPM, and ask for more feedback from residents, workers and neighborhood businesses affected by the project.

Loyola CTA Red Line Station Reboot On Track; McDonald’s Could Get Dumped

Loyola CTA Red Line Station is one of the busiest transportation hubs along the far north segments of the city’s el, servicing the EdgewaterEdgewater Beach and Rogers Park neighborhoods. Last summer, we reported the unveiling of a reboot of the Loyola CTA Red Line Station. A large part of the project includes a donation of Loyola University Chicago property towards the creation of an open plaza in front of updated entrances.

As I reported on July 30, 2011:

Already starting Phase II of its Loyola Station master-planned community, Loyola University has decided it needs a new train station to match. Using its heft to successfully obtain federal funding, paired with a commitment to open its own wallet, Loyola’s CTA Station is about to see reinvention.

A remodeling of the Loyola CTA Station will feature new windows, flooring, plaster, paint, lighting, bird control and water proofing. The entrances to the station would be moved further north and west. The viaduct will see changes first with work set to begin as early as August. A timeline has not yet been set for the other features.

Most interesting to the plan unveiled by Loyola University is the demolition of McDonald’s Express and Harris Bank to create an open plaza along Sheridan Road where people can sit, relax and even dine. The plaza would add $2 million to the entire CTA project and would be contributed by the school.

Rogers Park Facebook patrons questioned whether creating a plaza would increase unwanted loitering or even crime. Concerned residents were reminded that the property belongs to Loyola University and would be secured by its own police force, as they do for the rest of the Lake Shore Campus.

Illustration of an updated Loyola CTA Red Line Station.

SPOKESPERSON SAYS WORK BEGINS IN SUMMER

Today, Loyola’s Associate Vice President of Campus and Community Planning, Jennifer Clark, addressed commuters and residents asking for an update on the project. She reported it is slated to begin this summer.

Inquirers looking for more information were referred to an old report introducing the project. The article, written in 2011, said that the project was to begin as early as August of that year:

Later this year, the Loyola CTA Station will receive some much needed TLC thanks to a $7.5 million grant from U.S. Senator Dick Durbin and additional funds from the CTA. 

In 2005, as part of setting the redevelopment priorities for the Devon-Sheridan Tax Increment Financing District (TIF), the community loudly and consistently proclaimed that the red line stop at Loyola was the top priority for the betterment of North Sheridan Road. Since 2005, Loyola has been lobbying to highlight the problems at the station and generate the interest that led to the $10 million commitment.

$10 million will allow for safe & dry maintenance that includes new windows, flooring, plaster, paint, lighting, bird control and water proofing. At the viaduct the CTA will strip seal the structural joints and repair the columns.

Additionally, Loyola University is working with the CTA to move the entrance to the station further north and west along the embankment. The goal is to create a safer and more inviting pedestrian entrance to the station and to the community. Loyola is negotiating with its long-term tenants, McDonald’s and Harris Bank, in order to demolish the building and develop an open plaza. The plaza will add approximately $2 million to the project that Loyola will contribute.

The entire project is in the CTA’s design phase and work on the viaduct could begin as early as August. The new entrance and plaza timeline is not yet established.

NO LOVE FOR McDONALD’S?

Loyola spokesperson Clark responded to an area-resident, Teddy Semon, asking the school to rethink its relationship with McDonald’s Express, owned by Nicholas Karavites, in favor of alternative fast-food options at the updated station.

McDonald’s has been a long and successful tenant in that location when
no one else would take a chance on the area. The owner is a Loyola
alumnus. We will always be glad to have them as a tenant and a
neighbor.

You will be pleased to know, however, that Loyola is working with
McDonald’s to buy them out of their lease in order to create a CTA plaza
and new station entrance. The McDonald’s building is actually Loyola
property which we are donating to this public improvement for the
betterment of the whole area.

We are on the same page here. I’ve even had talks with Au Bon Pain but
it’s still too soon to tell. Please keep in touch with these kinds if
ideas. It’s how I know we’re on the right track.

Au Bon Pain is not the only business mentioned on a neighborhood wish list for the station’s future. In a back and forth with others interested in seeing a change in consumer options, Clark told a resident that Potbelly Sandwich Works is high on Loyola’s list of possible tenants, if they can convince the business to come to Rogers Park. 

Teddy Semon started an EveryBlock discussion where he argues that he wants Loyola to dump McDonald’s, and take advantage of the development opportunity, “to allow its students and its neighbors to have alternate options. Plus the plaza design will be perfect for a business more suited for patio life. For those that enjoy McDonald’s, they can easily go to the other McDonald’s just south of the CTA station.”

Residents opposed to McDonald’s express a want for diversified food options and healthier choices. They also want small businesses that would elevate the neighborhood’s profile, or promote a more sophisticated look and feel for the area.

KEEP KARAVITES’ McDONALD’S FRANCHISE?

Loyola alumnus Nicholas Karavites, 2010 Chicago Area Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame award winner, owns several McDonald’s franchises in the Chicago-area, including the McDonald’s Express in Rogers Park.

Not everyone sees the closure of the family-owned McDonald’s Express franchise as a positive move. RogersPark.com manager Charlie Didrickson added to an EveryBlock conversation, “I am all for healthier alternatives but why would Loyola kick out a longstanding business that seems to do well there? What about the people who actually like McDonalds?”

Didrickson added, “You don’t just get rid of a perfectly good, legal business because a small contingency wants something different. What if you were the owner and was told we no longer value your business, your longstanding business? I am not picking a fight but this stuff screams elitism and class BS. It’s like screaming that you want a liquor store gone but when the wine boutique opens everyone is all gaga over it. Lobby for alternatives in other adjacent locations but don’t do it at the expense of a perfectly good business.”

While some mention the close proximity of a full service McDonald’s near Broadway at Granville, the two have different customer demographics and cater to specific consumer profiles unique to their immediate areas. Karavites’ McDonald’s Express, and its neighbor Dunkin’ Donuts, have built their success on Loop-bound commuters who want the convenience of cheap coffee, pastries and sandwiches before hopping on their trains.

McDonald’s and Dunkin’ Donuts also serve many budget-conscious Loyola students who might consider other fast food alternatives as comparatively more expensive.

College student Miguel said, “What if us college students find that McDonald’s useful? That McDonald’s is right by the train. It’s a fast and affordable option to get some sort of food in us before classes. There are plenty of options around for those who want healthy eating. We can make healthy choices ourselves and don’t need members of the community parenting us, making sure we eat our veggies.”

EMPTY STOREFRONTS NEED TENANTS

McCaffery Interests, which leases property owned by Loyola, continues to look for tenants for empty storefronts near the CTA. Just steps away from the Red Line, The Morgan at Loyola Station has vacant first-floor spaces that have been sitting empty since the opening of the Loyola-owned apartment building.

Recent additions to the The Morgan include frozen yogurt shop Red MangoFive Guys Burgers and Fries and Tricoci University of Beauty Culture, among others. Druggist CVS anchors the first floor of The Morgan’s parking garage.